To borrow a line from Stephen Stills...
"There's battle lines being drawn...."
...but it's not about LA's Sunset Strip riots of 1966.
From what emerged at tonight's Village Board meeting, once again Westhampton Beach's administration is clearly divided; can a return to complete dysfunctionality... like the grim days of 2006-2010...... be far behind?
The major contention again, as it has been every month since last August, was the ordinary municipal business of budget transfers, but by "cherry-picking," 18 of 25 individual transfers managed to get accomplished.
But there were positive aspects of this monthly meeting:
- Mayor Conrad Teller did not play this one cagey and close to the vest. Biting his tongue in lieu of a planned stronger statement, he still managed to make it painfully clear that he'd had it with the Board majority of Hank Tucker, Patricia DiBenedetto and Junior Palmer, dragging their feet in their interminable and expensive witch hunt targeting Police Chief Ray Dean, Clerk of the Village Rebecca Molinaro, former Village Attorney and current Special Counsel Hermon Bishop, and, yes, the late Susan O'Rourke.
- First term Trustee Ralph Urban, with a calmness that belied his obvious disquietude over the protracted antics of that rogue majority, revealed that he is going to be a force with which to reckon in the coming months, and hopefully years.
For their parts:
- Tucker babbled his same old song about fiduciary responsibility... the words should curdle on his tongue after his three-year stone-walling of the police disciplinary hearings.
- DiBenedetto went the same route, but at least didn't mumble, and spent far too long trying to convince everyone that was they were doing was in the best interests of the taxpayers.
- Palmer? Who knows! Guy talks a blue streak, relies on acronyms to try and sound like he knows what he's talking about, and leaves everyone who hasn't automatically tuned him out, asking "What'd he say?"
So, some business of the Village got done this evening... the East End Little League will be using the Great Lawn for their games this Spring and into the Summer, the Police Department got six new handheld radios for $9,000+, and Outdoor Dining Permits were renewed for Hampton Coffee Company, Boom Burger and Café Mombo.
And, O yeah, an unabashed Andrew Mendelson reappeared with a plea that the Village move forward with his rezoning request so he can kill the downtown commercial area.
You tell it like it is and it is good that someone does. I'm appalled that there would be any controversy at the Village Board over the Village's kindness to Sue O'Rourke in her last days. Small towns look after their own and that's as it should be. The school district did the same in several instances years ago that will prudently remain nameless now that we have witch hunters among us. It was refreshing to read that Ralph Urban is not one of the witch hunters. He has a heart, which is more than can be said for the rest of them.